Motorola's dispute with its former CFO, Paul Liska, has revealed ugly infighting at the troubled company. Much of the dispute between the two parties centers on the financial projections and the future of Motorola's handset division, according to an Associated Press report.
Liska said he was fired after a board meeting Jan. 29. When Motorola reported its fourth quarter earnings Feb. 3, it announced his dismissal. Motorola said in a proxy statement Feb. 19 that Liska was fired "for cause." One day later, Liska filed suit, claiming he had been fired as a retaliatory measure.
Since then, the former executive and the company have been engaged in an ugly court battle, in which Motorola has alleged that Liska destroyed evidence from his company-issued laptop needed for the lawsuit. Liska denies the charge, and has accused Motorola of attempting to "smear" his reputation.
However, much of the dispute about the circumstances of the firing, according to Liska's lawsuit, centers on a presentation he gave to the company's board about Motorola's mobile devices unit. In it, he said 2009 projections were based on overly optimistic assumptions. He also attacked the unit for not having a forecast for 2010. Motorola has called this a "contrived presentation."
According to the filing, the next day, Motorola co-CEO Greg Brown told Liska that he was being replaced. "Paul, you fired a shot heard around the world," Brown told Liska, according to the filing.
However, according to a separate filing made by Motorola, Liska's behavior "markedly deteriorated" after Motorola hired Sanjay Jha to try and revive the handset division's prospects and turn it into an independent company. "Mr. Liska developed what now appears to be a vendetta against Dr. Jha and the Mobile Devices business," Motorola said in the filing.
- see this AP report
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